If you are in an abusive or dangerous relationship, something you should consider is getting away from your spouse and fleeing. If you have children, you may believe that leaving with your children could lead to charges of parental kidnapping, but that’s not the case. In reality, getting your kids to safety overrides any claim that you’ve kidnapped them when you have the evidence to show you fled in good faith.

The first thing you should do upon leaving the home with your children is to go to a shelter for domestic violence victims. Depending on the time of day, it’s then that you should contact your attorney. Always contact the police as soon as possible.

You’ll be able to file for a restraining order at that point, which helps you prevent the alleged abusive partner from contacting you or being within a certain distance of your home or property, work or family homes. You’ll need to work with an advocate to develop a safety plan and with your attorney to understand what the court needs from you. While you remember to do so, write down any abuse that has happened, the dates and the details. Call the police if you find yourself in immediate danger once leaving the shelter.

The courts will want to know why you fled the home, but if no custody arrangements are yet in place, you shouldn’t worry about being accused of kidnapping your own children if you were only looking out for their safety. Just make sure to report where you’ve gone to the authorities and your attorney.

Source: Domestic Shelters, “Fleeing An Abuser With Your Children,” accessed May 25, 2018